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A brief history of the first American magazine

Posted by: | September 29, 2014 | No Comment |

Magazines are publications that run on a regular schedule and are funded by subscription rates.  The first magazine ever printed was published in Germany in the late 17th century.  Less than 100 years later, with the idea of the magazine haven taken off as a form of journalism, a younger Ben Franklin decided to embrace the idea and set out to publish the first magazine in the American Colonies.

Franklin’s intended magazine was to be titled The General Magazine, and Historical Chronicle for all the British Plantations in America and was to be issued in Philadelphia.  However, Franklin was beat out by three days, when on February 13, 1741 Andrew Bradford published in Boston his American Magazine, or Monthly View of the Political State of the British Colonies.


Image from: http://books.google.com/books/about/The_American_Magazine_Or.html?id=l6AKAQAAIAAJ


Bradford’s publication only lasted three months, and Franklin’s six.  They lasted for such brief stints because they simply did not have a large reader base, nor did they have adequate transportation to distribute them effectively.

Magazines continued to struggle to make their way in America after these two initial fails.  It was not until 1843, when The Economist began running that magazines were finally established as an accepted form of journalism among the American public.

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